The Tradition of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) regarding prohibition of weeping and the source of this tradition
Sahih Muslim and Sunan Nasai record the following traditions:
(1) Abdullah bin Umar reported that Hafsa wept for Umar (when he was dying). He (Umar) said: ‘Be quiet, my daughter. Don’t you know that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) had said: "The dead is punished because of his family’s weeping over it?"1
(2) Umar reported Allah’s Apostle (s.a.w.s.) as saying: "The dead body is punished in the grave because of wailing on it."2
(3) Ibne Umar reported: When Umar was wounded he fainted, and there was a loud lamentation over him. When he regained consciousness he said: Didn’t you know that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said: "The dead is punished because of the weeping of the living?"3
Let us consider the following incident, which finds mention in the books of Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim:
Abdullah bin Abu Mulaika reports Ibne Abbas as saying: When we came to Medina, it was before long that the Commander of believers was wounded, and Suhaib came weeping and crying: ‘Alas for the brother, alas for the companion !’ Upon this Umar said: ‘Didn’t you know, or didn’t you hear, that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said: "The dead is punished because of the lamentation of his family?"
Abu Mulaika says that he went to Ayesha and told her of this. She said: I swear by Allah that Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) never said that dead would be punished because of his family’s lamenting (for him). What he said was that Allah would increase the punishment of the unbeliever because of his family’s lamenting for him. Verily it is Allah who has caused laughter and weeping. No bearer of a burden will bear another’s burden."
Ibn Abu Mulaika said that al-Qasim bin Muhammad said that when the words of Umar and Ibne Umar were conveyed to Ayesha, she said: "You have narrated it to me from those who are neither liars nor those suspected of lying but (sometimes) hearing misleads.4
We can also mention a similar type of tradition which has been recorded in Sahih Muslim, Sahih Bukhari, Sunan Tirmizi and Muwatta of Malik.
Hisham bin Urwa relates from his father that he said: I heard Ayesha say, when she was told that Abdullah bin Umar says that the dead person is tormented by his family’s weeping over him, that "Allah may bless Abu Abdur Rehman that he heard something but could not retain it (well).’ Actually, the bier of a Jewish man passed by the Prophet (sa.w.s.) and the member of his family were wailing over him. Upon this he said: You wail and he is being tormented.’"5
According to Nawawi (died 676 A.H.), the commentator of Sahih Muslim: The above narrations are the ones which have been related by Umar and his son Abdullah. However, Ayesha considered them to be ignorant of the actual import of the words of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.)6
The books of Sunan Nasai, Sunan Ibne Majah and Musnad Ibne Hanbal record the following narration:
Salma binte Azraq reports that Abu Huraira said: Someone of the family of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) died. The women gathered and began to weep upon the death. Umar stood up and refrained them from weeping. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said: Do not stop them, Umar, because the eyes weep and the heart is sorrowful and it has been only a short while (since the calamity).7
And in Musnad Ahmed Hanbal:
From Wahab bin Kaysani, from Muhammad bin Umar that he informed him: Salma Ibne Azrak was sitting with Abdullah Ibne Umar in the market place when a bier passed and people were weeping on it. When Abdullah Ibne Umar restrained them from weeping, Salma Ibne Azraq told him; Do not say that, because I have witnessed my father say that he heard from Abu Huraira that a woman from the family of Marwan died and Marwan told his women not to weep upon her. Abu Huraira told him not to restrain them as he himself had witnessed the incident when the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) told Umar not to send away the women who were weeping upon the dead. Moreover, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) had said: "Call them back, son of Khattab, for surely the soul is sorrowful and the eyes weep and it is a fresh incident."
He said, "Did you not hear him say that?".
"Yes", he replied, "The Almighty and His Messenger are more knowledgable."8
1Sahih Muslim 2:639, Kitabul Janaiz. Sahih Nasai 4:18, Kitabul Janaiz.
2Sahih Muslim 2:639. Sahih Tirmizi 4:222, Kitabul Janaiz, Chapter 24. Sunan Ibne Majah 1:508, Kitabul Janaiz.
3Sahih Muslim 2:639, Kitabul Janaiz. Sahih Nasai 4:18, Kitabul Janaiz.
4Sahih Muslim, Kitabul Janaiz, Chapter 9, Tradition No. 22 and 23.
5Sahih Muslim, Kitabul Janaiz, Chapter 9, Tradition No.25. Sahih Bukhari 1:156, Kitabul Janaiz. Sahih Tirmizi, Kitabul Janaiz, Chapter 25. Muwatta of Malik 1:234, Kitabul Janaiz.
6Nawawi’s Sharh Sahih Muslim.
7Sunan Nasai 2:19. Musnad Ahmed Hanbal. Sunan Ibne Majah, Kitabul Janaiz.M
8Musnad Ahmed Hanbal 2:273.